Anybody Want a Free Novel?

If I just gave my novel away, I’d have a lot more time to enjoy sunsets like this one.

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That’s right, a free novel. I’m getting really close to just giving this one away, so I can get on with my next one.

For the last eternity, it feels like, I’ve been trying to figure out the jargon used in the social media world, and how to upload photos, and how to get my posts to post the way I want them to, and how to maximize my stuff for the search engines, and how to . . ..  – I don’t know else yet, but I’m certain there’s much more to come.

I recently watched Finding Vivian Maier on Netflix. Maier, who spent forty years working as a nanny, died in 2009. During her lifetime, however, she took over 150,000 photos with her omnipresent Rolleiflex camera, mostly on the streets of Chicago’s North Shore. But not one of them was ever published.

People around her knew she took photos, though they had no idea how serious she was or how good she was.

And after she died, all of her boxes of photos could easily have ended up in the dump had it not been for John Maloof and a couple other collectors who happened upon them.

Maier had over 100,000 negatives, as well 700 rolls of undeveloped color film and 2,000 rolls of undeveloped black and white.

But why undeveloped? And why did she never publish anything?

She could have been famous and wealthy instead of working as a nanny all those years and then dying alone and penniless.

Today her photos hang in galleries around the world, and she’s often ranked with such greats as Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Garry Winogrand.

One curator concluded that, quite simply, Maier only did exactly what she wanted. And she just wanted to photograph.

The same goes for Emily Dickinson. She wrote over 1,800 poems, though virtually no one knew she was writing. She did publish ten or eleven poems in her lifetime, but they were anonymous.

One critic concluded that Dickinson simply preferred her own company, alone, in her own bedroom.

So Maier photographed. She was not a photographer. And Dickinson wrote. She was not a writer.

And both were world-class artists.

But given their decisions not to publish, neither of these women ever had to experience the frustration of trying to create the equivalent of a website, or trying to figure out how to post things on social media, or trying to build a platform.

They chose to abjure the world of business and to bask solely in their worlds of artistic creation.

And they were obviously content with that.

Maybe I’d be content with that, too. Maybe I’d be happiest just quietly waiting in that overlap zone for the little kid to come running up from my unconscious with notes for me, notes that would likely blossom into pages in my next novel.

But I’m going to give this social-media thing a bit more time.

As I concluded in Post 6b, maybe I should just stay the course for now and not make any rash decisions. At least I know the bailout option is there.

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(© 2017 Glenn Christianson. All rights reserved.)

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